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Stonewall History


Stonewall Inn,
53 Christopher Street (at 7th Avenue South),
Manhatton, New York,
NY 10014 USA.



Take the 1 train to Christopher
Street train stop or take the
A,B,C,D,E,F or V to West 4th.
Exit station onto 6th Avenue
and walk one block up Waverly
Place to Christopher Street.

Stonewall Map

The building was originally constructed between
1843 and 1846 as
two separate stables.

The property was turned into a restaurant in
1930 and remained a restaurant until it was
gutted by fire in the mid 1960s.

On 18 March 1967, the Stonewall Inn opened and
at this time it was the largest gay establishment
in the United States although, as with most gay
clubs at the time, police raids were common.

A few months after the Stonewall Riots that started
28 June 1969, The Stonewall Inn closed.

Over the next twenty years, the building was
occupied by various other businesses, including
a bagel sandwich shop, a Chinese restaurant,
and a shoe store.

In the early 1990s, a new gay bar, called
"Stonewall" opened in the west half of the
original Stonewall Inn building.
Each year during the Gay Pride March, crowds
gather outside the Stonewall to remember,
celebrate and enjoy its rich history.

In June 1999, through the efforts of the Greenwich
Village Society for Historic Preservation
and the
Organization of Lesbian and Gay Architects and
, the area including Stonewall was listed
on the
National Register of Historic Places for its
historic significance to gay and lesbian history.
The area included the Stonewall Inn, Christopher Park,
and portions of surrounding streets and sidewalks.
The area was declared a
National Historic
in February 2000.

The Stonewall riots are regarded by many gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons as
the single most important event. They were the
beginning of the modern GLBT rights movement.

The 1960's were a heightened time for human and civil
rights issues and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender (GLBT) people grew increasingly intolerant
of continued harassment and arrests by police.

LGBT people were subjected to civil laws that
criminalized sodomy and, in New York City, allowed
bars to refuse service to LGBT patrons.
Arrests, harassment and instances of entrapment
by police were frequent.
Civil laws reinforced their actions. Establishments
often cited Section 106, Subsection 6 of the New York
State Penal Code to refuse service to queer patrons.
The code barred premises from becoming
"disorderly houses."
Many, including the courts, considered homosexual
patrons to be disorderly.

In establishments where LGBT patrons were served,
they could not touch each other while they danced.
Section 722, Subsection 8 of the New York State
Penal Code made it an offense to "solicit men for
the purpose of committing a crime against nature."
Again, it was argued that homosexuality was an
act against nature.
Queer patrons were often entrapped by plain clothes
police officers, posing as regular bar patrons.
Transgender people were openly arrested on the streets.

One establishment where LGBT patrons found refuge
was the Stonewall Inn.

Stonewall Inn October 1969 - © New York Public Library
On the Window: "We homosexuals plead with our people to please
help maintain peaceful and quiet conduct on the streets of the Village"

To gain entey, bar goers paid a US$3.00 entrance
charge and signed a register book (often with a
fictitious or humorous name).
Bar management was often tipped off when the
local police district planned a raid on the bar and
would warn LGBT patrons by turning on the lights.

Stonewall Inn Layout 1969
Stonewall Inn Layout 1969

The iconic movie star/singer Judy Garland had
died on Sunday 22 June 1969 and her funeral
had taken place on Friday 27 June 1969.
Because of the funeral there was a larger
number of patrons at the Stonewall Inn
this particular night.

At 1:20am Saturday 28 June 1969, the NYPD
First District raided the Stonewall Inn.
Instead of quietly dispersing, as police had
come to expect, the crowd rioted as arrests
of bar staff and patrons were made.

The butch lesbians and drag queens fought back.

The bar patrons threw bottles and rocks at the police.

This raid and the riot that followed led to more
demonstrations and conflicts with the police outside
the Stonewall Inn as well as Christopher Park, and
along neighboring streets until Thursday 3 July 1969.

Stonewall - The Crowd Grew
© Larry Morris/The New York Times
The West Side Savings Bank at the intersection of Seventh Avenue
South, West Fourth Street and Christopher Street.
The bank's windows had been smashed by rioters on the afternoon
of Saturday, 28 June 1969, and the lights may have been kept on
to discourage a repeat attack.

Stonewall 29_June 1969.jpg
© The New York Times Sunday 29 June 1969

There were reports of stilettos, bottles, coins,
bricks and debris thrown.

© Larry Morris/The New York Times
Police officers kept a tight rein on a crowd to keep them on the
sidewalks, and off the streets, at the corner of Waverly Place and
Christopher Street, half block from the Stonewall Inn.

© The New York Times Monday 30 June 1969

The altercation spilled into the streets and
more queer street youth joined in the uprising.

Stonewall - Gay Street
© Larry Morris/The New York Times
The corner of Christopher and Gay Streets on the late evening of
Wednesday, July 2, 1969, the sixth and final night of the Stonewall uprising.
The police officer with the helmet and night stick was a member of the
Tactical Patrol Force called in for the riots.

© The New York Times Thursday 3 July 1969

As word spread, more LGBT people from surrounded
neighborhoods (suburbs/districts) joined the riot.

Stonewall - Lights
© Larry Morris/The New York Times
The front of the Stonewall Inn, with a crowd in front. Some time after the
first night of the uprising, the owners of the club had a string of light
bulbs placed over the sign in an attempt to lure customers back—and
perhaps also as a gesture of defiance to the police.

Unfortunately very few images of the Stonewall
Rebellion were captured by the press or participants.
The handful of pictures that have circulated are able
to capture the atmosphere of the uprising.

Stonewall marked the first time that gays and
lesbians as a group forcefully and vocally asserted
their rights to equality under the law. The events
of Stonewall opened the door for millions of gay
and lesbians to begin pressing for full and equal
civil rights. Indeed, within a few short years of
Stonewall, thousands of gay and lesbian civil rights
organizations had sprung up. This historic site,
which is commemorated annually in thousands of
parades and festivals around the world, is recognized
as a truly significant place in the history of the
modern civil rights movement.

On the first year anniversary of Stonewall, the first
gay pride march was held in New York City, as well
as in other cities.
This rebellion helped to lead the way to the worldwide
Gay Pride Parades and Fair Days as we know them today.

If you are GLBT or GLBT friendly and coming to NYC or
already live there this is one bar that you should go to.

© Lauren Klain Carton
A recent picture inside the ground floor bar.

A lot of GLBT history goes with this bar but do not
expect the typical razzy light dazzling night club but
a very friendly venue full of character and charm.

Buy yourself a drink and there is every chance of
bumping into someone from another country who
is there for the same reason as you.

It can be an emotional experiance for some if you allow
your feelings to vision that eventful night back in 1969.

Stonewall D and D.jpg
© Rainbow Store
The owners of Rainbow Store at the Stonewall Inn for
the 40 year Stonewall anniversary on 28 June 2009.

Stonewall Uprising - Theatrical Trailer

Proud (40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots)

40 years later and how things have changed.
NYC Gay Pride March - Stonewall 40th Anniversary 28 June 2009

Rainbow Store respects the identity of any individual
past and present in this Stonewall History article and
greatly appreciates the courage of all those people who
were involved in this momentous occasion in history.

Rainbow Store appreciates the copyright owners of all
text and pictures in this article.

To the best of our knowledge the information mentioned
here is correct as of 1 July 2018.

Email Form
If anyone can correct us or add more information or
pictures of the events, Rainbow Store would be most
grateful as would the GLBT community worldwide.

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